Bakers Journal

Five days in Paris

January 31, 2014
By Karly O'Brien

Europain is gearing up for another successful show in 2014, which will be held at Paris-Nord Villepinte from March 8-12.

Europain is gearing up for another successful show in 2014, which will be held at Paris-Nord Villepinte from March 8-12.

In 2012, there were 82,690 delegates  
In 2012, there were 82,690 delegates strolling the isles of Paris-Nord Villepinte.  Photo courtesy T. Caron


The show boasts a 68,000 square metre floor area. Europain and Intersuc are organized jointly with SuccessFood, the contemporary foodservice exhibition. In 2012, there were 82,690 delegates with the greatest proportion of visitors being artisan bakers (36 per cent), followed by industrial bakers (11.7 per cent), distributors and wholesalers (9.7 per cent) and caterers (7.4 per cent).


Attendees at this year’s Europain will learn about many bakery industry changes, including increased health awareness and higher demands on quality and speed.

The bakery sector is changing in step with society: people are spending less time eating meals while demands for quality and traceability are increasing.

Here are seven major trends that will be covered at the show:

  • Healthier baking
  • Contemporary bakeries for all-day consumption
  • Design, collections and perfect matches to suit every taste
  • Faster, more practical baking without compromising quality
  • Pastries that are now lighter and on-the-go items
  • Innovating with “natural” ingredients
  • Optimizing the customer’s experience at lunch

“How can we reconcile healthy products made on the spot with these new constraints of fast preparation and tighter budgets?” asked Jean-Pierre Crouzet, a baker by profession and chairman of the French National Bakers’ and Pastry-makers’ Confederation (CNBF), in a prepared statement. “That is the challenge facing bakers, who have become businessmen in a rapidly changing local economy.”

Europain will showcase new products and innovative equipment in all the categories represented at the exhibition. There will also be a dedicated area set up where delegates can browse innovations and new products, as well as the Europain Innovation Awards and Intersuc Collections.

A panel of experts will award prizes to the most innovative equipment, products and services presented by exhibitors. For the first time there will be a new selection criterion that will allow candidates to defend their products in front of the selection committee on presentation day in January 2014. The winners will be announced on the opening day of the show.

The award categories for the Europain Innovation Awards are products, equipment, services, and store equipment and fittings. The Intersuc Collections prizes will present awards to professionals exhibiting at the Intersuc Show in the finished product, ingredients and decorating categories.

A feature of the 2014 SuccessFood exhibition will be the emphasis on coffee as a new source of business for restaurant owners and bakers. Latte art, barista and cup tasting contests, and practical demonstrations will show how this product can offer added quality and profit to professionals who wish to diversify their menu. The exhibition will focus on three hot topics: innovation in a fast-paced era, flexibility and healthy cuisine.

The Road to Success will present bakery/pastry-making and restaurant concepts in an area covering more than 1,000 metres. Linking Europain and SuccessFood, this area will be a life-size source of inspiration for professionals wishing to start up or reinvent their business.

“Three hundred years ago, bakeries produced bread and that was all. Then pastries gradually appeared followed by cakes, sandwiches and now entire meals,” explained Crouzet. “This change is inherent in the transformations taking place in our consumer society, and is to be welcomed provided that the bakery’s image of neighbourhood service and quality is maintained.”

Since the future of baking lies in the hands of apprentices, the Rue des Écoles (“Schools Street”) will present basic and advanced training courses in this field.

“Studies prove that bakers who have followed a training course succeed better. They learn technical skills and respect for the products they use. There is a difference between aptitude and ability,” recalled Crouzet.

Statistics from OpinionWay and Trieze show that the French tend to choose their baker on the strength of his or her know-how (73 per cent), the quality of his or her bread (72 per cent) and the fact that it is produced from A to Z at the place where it is sold (60 per cent).

Here is a rundown of the competitions and at this year’s Europain. The Bakery Masters and International Confectionery Art Competition will take place in the cube, a 4,000-metre competition area that was created in 2012. The capacity of this stage has been enlarged for competitors and spectators.

The Bakery Masters is the culmination of a series of competitions: the 2009-2011 Louis Lesaffre Cup and the 2012 Bakery World Cup. These two cups involved a team of contestants from each country. The teams are comprised of professionals who know each other and who pool their skills, prepare, work and train together for months with the same goal in mind. The Bakery Masters, on the other hand, rewards individual performance. There will be 24 candidates comprising six wild cards and 18 that were chosen based on scores from the latter competitions.

The wild card contests recognize professionals who were unable to demonstrate the full scope of their skills and expertise as part of a team during the previous competitions, but who showed particular talent. Competitors will have eight hours to complete their piece.

These contestants will compete in three different categories: bread, Viennese pastries and artistic creations. In the bread category, there is a new challenge for 2014 called Breads of the World, mandating that the contestants must create one of five classic breads of the world: pretzel, ciabatta, burger bun, pan de muerto or Swiss braid. There will also be the Nutritional Bread challenge that requires the contestant to create a loaf that meets the nutritional needs of the baker’s country. The bread must include one or more nutritional benefits: fibre, protein, valuable nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. In the Viennese category, there will be the Freestyle Viennese Pastry challenge, which promises to be a source of inspiration offering endless creative opportunities. In the bread and Viennese pastries categories, candidates will be required to produce chosen and compulsory creations. The artistic creation challenge will stretch the competing baker’s imagination and flair to the limits with a theme of World Music. The ultimate goal of this competition is to win the title of Master Baker 2014. The Bakery Masters takes place every four years.

The International Confectionery Art Competition, taking place for the third time in 2014, will have 16 teams of two (one male and one female) with 20 hours over the span of four days to complete nine culinary creations. Each team will have to create one artistic pastillage piece, one sugar art piece, one chocolate piece, one reinterpreted tart, one entremet, three chocolate bonbons and one plated restaurant dessert. Thirty-seven candidates have been selected from 16 countries. The Canadian team will be comprised of Sébastien Camus and Marie-Claude Drouin, who are both from Quebec.

“What do I expect from these contests? A good deal of excitement cohesion between the men and women, technical prowess and… surprises!” explains Pascal Niau, MOF Pastry Maker 1979 and chairman of the jury, in a media statement. “The competition develops the candidates’ technique, but also their spirit. It is a way of growing while remaining humble.”

The French Schools Cup will be held in an area dedicated exclusively to showcasing promising new talents. Contestants at the fourth cup will have five hours to complete three creations on the themes of baking and pastries. There will be teams of three young apprentices that must be under the age of 24 on the day of the competition and include one woman.

There will also be a creative show, Baker & Designer, that will team up bakers, pastry chefs and cooks with professional designers to create showpieces that are feasts for the eyes and the taste buds.

This year’s Europain show promises to bring the world of baking together for five glorious days in Paris of inspiration, and of course, good old-fashioned fun.

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